The early Christian use of the Hebrew Bible

The Old Testament takes up two-thirds of the Christian Bible.  The Hebrew Bible, the Tanakh, is divided into three major parts, the Torah, the Nevi’im, and the Ketuvim.  The Torah was known as the Law or instruction.  The works of the prophets was called Nevi’im.  Finally, the Writings were called Ketuvim.  New Testament writers used these three terms of the law, the prophets, and the writings when they referred to the Hebrew Scriptures, the only Bible that they knew.  Most of the final codification of the Hebrew Bible had taken place centuries before the time of Jesus Christ.  Thus, the Christians often referred to the law and the prophets when they were talking about the books of the Hebrew Bible.  These early Christians never referred to their own writings as the Bible.

King Hezekiah copies (Prov 25:1-25:1)

“These are other proverbs of Solomon

That the officials

Of King Hezekiah,

Of Judah copied.”

Now we are back to another collection of King Solomon’s proverbs. However, these are the ones found or copied by the officials of King Hezekiah of Judah. Who was King Hezekiah? King Hezekiah (735-687 BCE) was the 13th ruler of Judah, a descendant of David. During his reign, the northern Israelite kingdom fell. However, he enacted many religious reforms in Judah. The prophets Isaiah and Micah were around during his rule. More information about his rule can be found in 2 Kings, chapters 18-20, and 2 Chronicles, chapters 29-32. There are also a number of non-biblical sources about the reign of Hezekiah. He also had an influence on the book of Deuteronomy, and the codification of the Torah. Thus these proverbs might be older than the ones earlier. On the other hand, they might have been added to the collection as it seems here.